Softball Opens Ivy League Action at Columbia and Penn

Softball Opens Ivy League Action at Columbia and Penn

Adrienne Hume and the Crimson begin Ivy League play at Columbia and Penn this weekend (Envision Sports Media).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After spending spring break in California for 12 games, the Harvard softball team (7-12) will head back out on the road this weekend, traveling to New York City and Philadelphia to begin Ivy League play at Columbia and Penn. Harvard is set for doubleheaders against both Ancient Eight foes, taking on the Lions beginning at 2 p.m. Friday, March 27 and the Quakers at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28.

The Crimson's spring break trip started off on a rough streak, going 0-6, but Harvard bounced back in the second half of the trip, going 4-2.

A highlight of that resurgence was senior pitcher Laura Ricciardone posting a 1.15 ERA over 24.1 innings. With a 2-1 record and 10 strikeouts, Ricciardone was named the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week on March 24. For the year, Ricciardone leads the Crimson pitching staff with a 2.57 ERA and 46.1 innings worked. Junior Morgan Groom also carries an ERA under 3.0 at 2.90, while pacing the staff with a 6.03 strikeouts per game mark. Ricciardone and Groom each have three wins.

Senior leadership has been crucial for the Crimson at the plate. Katherine Appelbe and Katherine Lantz lead the way with .396 and .349 batting averages, respectively. Lantz leads the team with three long balls, while Appelbe's eight RBI is one shy of classmate Emily Gusse's team-leading nine. One freshman who has made the jump to the collegiate level with relative ease has been Maddy Kaplan. She is blazing the base paths with a team-high seven stolen bases and her 18 hits is second on the Crimson.

The Lions have just one win in their last 10 games, a 7-6, extra-innings victory at Hawai'i on  March 18. They begin Ivy League play with a 3-12 overall record.

Sophomore Kerry Cook is the lone Columbia player batting over .300 this season. She leads her teammates with a .333 average, .438 slugging mark and eight RBI. Tonia Wu has four doubles and five RBI, ranking second with a .282 batting average.

Wu is also the leader in the circle for the Lions, tossing 44.1 innings in nine appearances, good for a 2-5 record. Her 2.68 ERA is the low mark on the team.

The Quakers have four games separating it from Saturday's clash with the Crimson. Penn, which is in the midst of a 12-game homestand, hosts La Salle Wednesday evening and Dartmouth Friday afternoon. The Quakers are 8-7 overall, entering Wednesday's doubleheader.

Alexis Borden has pitched almost half of the Quakers' innings thus far, notching a 3-4 record and 53 strikeouts in 46.1 innings. Alexis Sargent's 1.26 ERA leads the team, with her 16.1 innings and 14 strikeouts rankings second.

Pulling double duty, Sargent is leading Penn with 14 RBI. Lauren Li has the best batting average at .366, while Jurie Joyner holds a 3.23 average at the dish. The Quakers have just two home runs coming off the bats of Sargent and Lean Allen, who is tied for second with six RBI.